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The Met as the Metropolitan Museum of Art is colloquially known, is a well known landmark in Manhattan, situated along the Eastern side of Central Park, extending to a length of almost 400 meters and occupying a space of 2 million square feet.
As New York’s most sought after museum housing an extensive permanent collection as well as many travelling exhibitions, the Met attracts over five million visitors each year.
Initially housed at 681 Fifth Avenue, the museum’s first president was John Taylor Johnston whose collection started off the institution. Following the purchase of the Cypriot antiquities of the Cesnola Collection the museum temporarily moved to the Douglas Mansion before moving into its permanent location down East Park Drive, Fifth Avenue – the land granted by the City of New York.
Since then the museum has grown in size, building space and collection depth and presently houses an extensive range of art and sculpture from the European region. It also houses extensive collections of artifacts, paintings and antiquities from Asia, Africa, Egypt and the Islamic, Byzantine and Oceanic eras.
Whilst most of the collections are bequeathed to the museum, the museum also engages in purchasing prized collections. Seventeen curatorial departments cater to the museum’s collection separately, each employing its own staff of scholars and curators. Four conservation departments specifically dedicated to the museum’s collection engage in conservation and scientific research.
Whether a visitor is interested in Roman statues, Rembrandt paintings, ancient Egyptian vases, Tiffany stained glass, arms and armour or costumes the Met usually has something for everyone.
Whilst the Met is designed to incorporate its collections under one expansive theme, the Robert Lehman Collection is housed in the manner of a museum within a museum. This is due to the collection being an extraordinary and unique private collection wholly donated to the museum following his death. The assortment of art works have no particular period and represent the personal taste of Mr Lehman.